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significance to logic as not merely a mechanical instrument for the
arrangement of accepted ideas, but, as he said, " the searcher-out
of the common conceptions of the mind." Here he was on the
brink of the great problem of the relation of ideas to reality which
came to be of tremendous consequence both for philosophy and
theology two centuries later, and may therefore be regarded as the
pioneer in the scholastic movement which from the Eleventh to
the Fourteenth Century absorbed the energies of most scholars in
the attempt to develop the doctrines of the Church as a scientific

John Scotus, however, was too much in advance of his times
to have much influence on the direction of their thought. But
though his writings suffered neglect for a time, the metaphysical
and theological problems which he had broached were kept
before the minds of thinkers by the Introduction to Aristotle's
Categories written by the neo-Platonist Porphyry (233 to circa
301), which was known to every medieval student through the
translation of Boethius. " The words in which this writer states,
without resolving, the problem of the scholastic philosophy, have
played perhaps a more momentous part in the history of thought
than any other passage of equal length in all literature outside the
canonical scriptures.* * Next,' he says, ' concerning genera and
species, the question whether they really exist (subsistent), or
whether they have only an existence for the intellect (sive in solis
nudis intellectibus posita sint), or whether if they really exist they
are corporeal or incorporeal, and whether they are separable from
things of sense (separata a $ensibilibus\ or have their existence in
things of sense and therefore exist in conjunction with them (an
insensibilibus posita et circa hac consistentia)y I shall refrain from
deciding. For a question of this kind is a very deep one and
requires a lengthy investigation/ "*

It was not till the renaissance of the Eleventh Century that the
alternative positions indicated by Porphyry in these abstract
terms became crystallized in the opposing doctrines of Realism
and Nominalism, and passed beyond philosophy into the more
concrete controversies of theology. According to the realists, the
reality of things is to be found in the general conceptions we have
of them: individual things as known to the senses are but appear-
ances. According to the nominalists, on the other hand, general

 H- Rashdall, Uwversitte of Europe in the Middle A$e& (revised 1936), i, 40-